Pongal in pot

Pongal is the harvest festival celebrated in Tamilnadu by worshiping Sun & earth to express our gratitude for the entire year’s harvests. On this day we still follow the traditional method of cooking rice in brass, stainless steel or earthen pots. We decorate the Pongal Paanai (pot) with kolam drawn using rice flour & turmeric powder and tie the ginger or turmeric sprouts around its neck. Pongal means boiling over, it signifies prosperity & abundance, and hence it is considered auspicious to have boiled over while cooking pongal. We use Pongal paanai rather than electric cooker or pressure cooker as spilling over happens only when cooking pongal in pot.

img_2432 Pongal in pot
Turmeric root tied around Pongal Paanai

Traditionally farmers use recently harvested rice for making Pongal in this harvest festival. Others make Pongal using kaikuthal arisi (hand-pounded rice) or traditional rice varieties like kavuni arisi, thooya malli arisi, karung kuruvai arisi, mappillai samba arisi, poongar arisi, etc. and some like to use millets like kodo millet, foxtail millet, etc.

img_2500 Pongal in pot
Pongal-O-Pongal

Generally we make pongal sadam & sarkarai pongal mainly to serve for lunch. I like to prepare venn pongal & sweet pongal on this day as I feel it is convenient to serve venn pongal for breakfast and sweet pongal for lunch. You may also refer all my recipes prepared for Pongal festival here. Now let’s prepare pongal in pot:

img_2565 Pongal in pot
Sarkarai Pongal & Venn Pongal

Venn Pongal in Pot

img_2553 Pongal in pot

I used fresh turmeric roots instead of turmeric powder for their amazing anti-inflammatory properties. Fresh turmeric has a unique aroma but tastes slightly bitter. Since we get fresh turmeric roots only for few days every January I like to use them in as many recipes as possible by replacing turmeric powder. Now the recipe for Venn Pongal using fresh turmeric root:

img_25861 Pongal in pot
Fresh turmeric root

Time Taken: 30 min.
Yields : 2½ cups

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice (pacharisi) – 1 cup
  2. Green gram lentils (paasi paruppu) – ½ cup
  3. Water – 2 Litres
  4. Salt – 1½ tsp

For tempering #1 :

  1. Any neutral oil (or ghee) – 2 tbsp (30 ml) (I used saffola oil)
  2. Pepper – 1 tsp
  3. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Fresh ginger – a thumb sized
  5. Fresh turmeric – 2 pieces (each 1 inch)

For tempering #2 :

  1. Ghee – 2 tsp
  2. Cashewnuts – 12-15 Nos.
  3. Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

img_2487 Pongal in pot

Cooking Method:

  • Heat a pan in low flame and  roast lentils until they get heated up.
  • Wash rice & roasted lentil and discard the water.
  • Again rinse them in 2 Litres of water & keep them immersed in the same water.
  • Heat a cooking pot, pour rinsing water in to the pot and bring it to a boil in high flame.
  • When the water begins to boil over, reduce the flame to low.
  • Pour frothy foamy water out using a ladle.
  • Add rice & lentil into the boiling water and cook in medium flame.
  • Meanwhile prepare the tempering #1 as shown below and pour into the pot.
  • Now cook the rice-lentil mixture (in low flame) covered allowing it get infused with those spices.
  • When the mixture turned mushy, add salt and mix well.
  • Prepare the tempering #2 and mix with pongal.
  • Remove from heat and transfer ven pongal to a hot casserole immediately.
  • Serve hot with coconut chutney & sambar.

venpngl Pongal in pot

Sarkarai Pongal in Pot

img_25392 Pongal in pot
Sakkarai Pongal

Time Taken: 30 min.
Yields : 2¼ cups

Ingredients:

  1. Raw rice (pacharisi) – 1 cup
  2. Powdered cane jaggery (vellam) – 1 cup
  3. Water – 1½ Litre
  4. Milk – 1 cup
  5. Cardamom – 2 Nos.
  6. Edible camphor (pachaikarpooram) – a small piece

For tempering:

  1. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  2. Cashew nuts – 10 Nos.
  3. Raisins – 20 Nos.

img_2436 Pongal in pot

Cooking Method:

  • Wash rice and discard the water.
  • Now rinse again using 1½ litres of water and keep the rice immersed in the same water.
  • Pour rice-rinsing water & milk (1 cup) into the cooking pot and bring it to a boil in high flame.
  • When the milk boiled over, reduce the flame to low.
  • Add rice and cook until mushy in medium flame.
  • Mash rice well with the back of a ladle.
  • Add powdered jaggery and cook in low flame until coagulated.
  • Add powdered cardamom seeds & edible camphor and mix well.
  • Prepare the tempering as shown in the gif below and add into the pot.
  • Mix well and remove from heat.
  • Transfer hot sweet pongal to a hot casserole immediately.
  • Pour hot ghee over sakkarai pongal before serving, if you don’t count the calories. 🙂
sakrpngl1 Pongal in pot
Sakkarai pongal paanai

Meals with Pongal

Our typical breakfast platter on Pongal day consists of idli, medhu vadai, venn pongal, sweet pongal, coconut chutney & sambar.

img_25711 Pongal in pot
Breakfast platter for Pongal festival

The traditional simple pongal menu for lunch comprises of kadamba sambar, avial, red pumpkin sweet poriyal, appalam, medhu vadaisweet pongal and buttermilk.

img_2582 Pongal in pot
Lunch on banana leaf for Pongal festival

102 comments on “Pongal in potAdd yours →

  1. Dear Megala, you make this look so beautiful – in addition to delicious! One feels this absolutely must be tried – even if out-of-season 😉
    I will go see if I can get some fresh turmeric or ginger sprouts somewhere … 😉 🙂 🙂
    Warm greetings, dear friend, and best wishes! 😊🌈☀️

  2. Beautifully presented… Wow… How do you do it. I cook rarely and I am extremely messy… Are you on television too?? With your own show or on YouTube??

        1. Aww! Thanks, dear Shalini !! I’m enjoying myself as a blogger, and I’m here to archive my recipes that are most beneficial to me and my extended family. 🙂

Please share your thoughts here:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: